California. Dept. of Fish and Game.

California fish and game (Volume 1954-1956) online

. (page 1 of 16)
Online LibraryCalifornia. Dept. of Fish and GameCalifornia fish and game (Volume 1954-1956) → online text (page 1 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


California. Dept. of Fish and Game
Biennial Report 1954-1956.



CAUHOUNiA
l-liiH AND GAME




California. Dept. of Fish and Game.
Biennial Report l'^^" ' 5.



/K'



ot ^^^^



and



Cali^°^tat report ^^^




California Resources Agency Library

1416 9th Street, Room 117

Sacramento, California 95814



FORTY- FOURTH
BIENNIAL REPORT








FOR THE YEARS 1954-1956



CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME



FORTY-FOURTH



BIENNIAL REPORT



DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME




July 1, 1954, through June 30, 1956



COMMISSIONERS

ANDY KELLY, PRESIDENT

LOS ANGELES

CARL F. WENTE
SAN FRANCISCO

WILLIAM P. ELSER

SAN DIEGO

WELDON L. OXLEY
REDDING

THOMAS H. RICHARDS. JR.
SACRAMENTO



GOODWIN J, Knight

GOVERNOR



Seth Gordon

DIRECTOR






STATE OF CALIFORNIA



^epartm^ttt of 3[tsl| mih (§nmt



722 CAPITOL AVENUE
SACRAMENTO 14. CALIFORNIA



To His Excellency, Goodwin J. Knight

Governor of the State of California
Sacramento, California

Sir:

We have the honor to submit herewith the Forty-fourth Biennial
Report, covering the period July 1, 1954, through June 30, 1956.

This report covers a period of intense activity by state agencies and
others interested in the development of California's water resources for
varied purposes. It describes fully the role of the Department of Fish
and Game in these activities.

The report also contains accounts of the activities of the Wildlife
Conservation Board, the Marine Research Committee and the various
branches of the department in fostering the conservation and wise use
of the State's wildlife resources.

A summarization of important policy decisions by the Fish and Game
Commission affecting wildlife is also included.

Respectfully submitted,




Director



[2]




Cover Picfure. So/mon leaping Burnt Ranch Falls of ihe Trinity River,
approximately 30 miles west of Weaverville.

(Fish and Game Photo by E. P. "Phil" Pister)



TABLE OF CONTENTS



Letter of Transmittal ..__.

Fish and Game Commission..

Report of the Director

Wildlife Conservation Board

Water Projects

Salmon and Steelhead

Inland Fisheries

Marine Fisheries

Game Management

Wildlife Protection

Appendices



Page

.... 2



5
7

19
21
27
33
47
63
75
83



STATE OF CALIFORNIA

DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

GOODWIN J. KNIGHT, Governor



FISH AND GAME COMMISSION

Andy Kelly, President, Los Angeles



William P. Elser, San Diego
Weldon L. Oxiey, Redding



Carl F. Wente, San Francisco
Thomas H. Richards, Jr., Sacramento



[3]



Department of Fish and Game Major Installations, 1956



OtL NOfirE JSISKIYOU '







o



^



I ©

®



(I)



©



<4>



lELDORAOO



Q FISH HATCHERIES



1 Mount Shasta Hatchery

2 Crystal Lake Hatchery

3 Darroh Springs Holchery

4 Central Valley Hatchery

5 Moccasin Creek Hatchery

6 Hot Creek Hatchery

7 Fish Springs Hotchery



8 Block Rock Rearing Ponds

9 Mount Whitney Hotchery

10 Sequoia Hotchery

11 Moorehouse Springs Hatchery

12 Kern River Hatchery

13 Fillmore Hatchery

14 MoJQve Hotchery



15 Cedor Creek Experimentol Station

16 Son Joaquin Hotchery

17 Nimbus HoTchery



O



GAME FARMS



I. Browley

2 Los Serranos

3 Redding



4 Chico



i© 22



CSANTA CLARA



Jll



(4)



\v



®
®



103



230



(6)



ISAN LUIS OBISPO



®



5 Marysville

6 Sacramento

7 Yountville



8 Fresno
( ) WATERFOWL MANAGEMENT AREAS



1. Honey LaKe

2 Gray Lodge

3 Grizzly Islond



4 Los Bonos

5 Imperial

6 Mendoto



A DEER MANAGEMENT AREAS

I Doyle 2 Tehomo
3 Cow Mtn. (managed in cooperation with
Lake and Mendocino Counties )

[] STREAM IMPROVEMENT HEADQUARTE
I YREKA 2 Weoverville 3 ElkGri



^. GUZZLER

No. = No. of Guzzlers
in eocti County

l6



■.I.U BERNARDINO



89



Q CENTRAL OFFICE - Socromento

■^ REGIONAL OFFICES

Region I -Redding
Region II - Sacramento
Region III - San Francisco
Region IV - Fresno
Region V - Los Angeles

ilt BRANCH OFFICES
Eureka

Terminal Island
Son Diego
Monterey
Bistiop



92



29



35



298



371



279



(5) 58



[4]



FISH AND GAME COMMISSION




Commissioners who molded Fish and Game policies throughout most of the biennium. Left to right: Harley E. Knox, elected commission president in
January, 1956; Cor/ F. Wente; William J. Si/vo, elected president in January, 1954, and re-elected the following year; We/don Oxley; and Andy Kelly,

who succeeded Lee F. Payne, whose term expired in December, 1954.

(Fish and Game Photo)



A comprehensive history of the California Fish and
Game Commission and its various predecessors, stem-
ming from the State Board of Fish Commissioners
established in 1870, was published this biennium as a
part of the administrative survey of the agency by the
Legislative Auditor.

This history detailed various historical changes since
passage in 1852 of the first California fish and game
law. It also reviewed the most recent basic change in
1952 which accompanied reorganization of the agency
into a department, relieving the commission of respon-
sibilities other than policy formulation and regulatory
functions.

In 1956, the late Harley Knox, Commission Presi-
dent, invited the Attorney General's opinion as to the
responsibilities of the commission. This opinion held
that the department's budget and fiscal matters, as they
reflect the programs and activities of the department,
are matters of policy for which the commission is
responsible. On this basis, the commission actively par-
ticipated in the planning of the 1957-58 Fiscal Year
budget and programs, and formally approved the
budget prior to its presentation to the Legislature.



At the biennium's end the commission was studying
various ways and means of increasing revenues in
preparation for recommending appropriate changes to
the Governor and Legislature.

Also pursuant to said advice, the commission revised
its state-wide trout policy in April of 1956 by stipulat-
ing that everything possible shall be done to aid and
protect natural production by protection and improve-
ment of habitat. It further decided that artificial trout
propagation will be used where necessar\-. It also estab-
lished a minimum of 7'/2 inches in length forcatchable-
size trout, and determined that such trout will be
planted only in heavily fished roadside lakes or streams
where at least 50 percent or more will be taken by
anglers.

The commission concurred with the U. S. Fish and
Wildlife Service in establishing a coot and widgeon
special season in Imperial \'alley to relieve crop depre-
dations and also concurred in the establishment of a
similar season on coots for certain counties in the San
Joaquin X'alley.

In order to provide protection to a larger number
of nursery stock, the commission increased the mini-
mum size limit on striped bass from 12 to 16 inches.



DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME



IMPORTANT NEW STEPS TAKEN

The commission implemented its 1950 deer policy
by providing for a 38-county either-sex deer hunt for
the first time. The commissioners personally con-
ducted many of the public hearings on the matter as
required under the law.

In November, 1954, the commission established the
first open season on chukar partridges, with such suc-
cess that it has been continued annually and the area
where these birds may be taken has been enlarged.

The commission also initiated the plan by which
hunters may obtain advance reservations for hunting
on various waterfowl management areas operated by
the department. The program has proved most suc-
cessful and popular with waterfowl hunters.



New Procedures

Procedures by which matters such as departmental
recommendations for regulations and seasons would be
made available to the public well in advance of their
official consideration at commission meetings were also
initiated by the commission and put into effect by the
department.

On a number of occasions during the biennium,
various commission members, who serve without com-
pensation, reaffirmed a traditional stand of the com-
mission, by pointing out that regulations are set first
for the welfare of the wildlife concerned, and sec-
ondly for the convenience of the public where such
regulation will not endanger the future of wildlife.



REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR




Log dam built in 1954 by the department on Little Bear Creek, San Bernardino County, to create a trout pool.

(Fish and Game Photo by B. H. Unruh)



How to maintain waters for fishing, hunting and
other outdoor recreation in the face of accelerating
development of water for other purposes is the most
challenging problem ever to face Fish and Game peo-
ple in California.

This problem has been daily confronting the depart-
ment during the last decade, and in the past two
years has been highly intensified as a wide variety
of water developments have taken shape on man\' of
California's major streams.

The Golden State is growing at such an accelerated
rate that its effect has sometimes been termed "ex-
plosive." On July 1, 1946, there were 9,559,000 resi-
dents in California. Only 10 years later the figure had
grown by 4,000,000-and of these, 1,000,000 arrived
during the biennium just completed.

Problem Highlighted

In another two years there may be a population of
15,000,000. Most of this growth has been in water-
short Southern California, a fact which dramatically
highlights the problem facing state authorities: the
north has the water and the south has the need. The
solution is obvious; export excess water to the areas
of need. Not so obvious to the general public are the
problems which this solution has posed for matters of
fish, game and recreation.



Each new appeal to the State for water for highly
important domestic, agricultural and industrial pur-
poses called for immediate answers from the Depart-
ment of Fish and Game as to how fish could be pro-
tected. The growing demands for water and the
department's legal responsibility to protect fish and
game needs have taxed personnel to the utmost. Prep-
arations for hearings, which have greatly increased
during the period, and the necessity to appear person-
ally fo testify for the department, began to usurp the
full time of more and more department personnel
who had to be relieved of other duties to concentrate
their efforts on the preservation of inland waters for
wildlife.

The department, pursuant to the policy adopted by
the Fish^and Game Commission, has continued to rec-
ommend reserving water for fish, wildlife and recrea-
tion, without success. Legislation is essential to pre-
serve the contribution that fish and game make to the
economy of California and to provide the other out-
door recreational opportunities that will be required
by the State's expanding population.

CALIFORNIA WATER PLAN

The new California Water Plan occupied a great
amount of the department's attention during the bien-
nium, and rightly so. For the plan not only projects



[7]



8



DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME



and provides for the State's ultimate consumptive
water needs, but it also forecasts a large share of its
future in outdoor recreation.

By direction of the Legislature, recreational uses of
water had to be considered during the fomiulation of
the California Water Plan. The Department of Water
Resources went a step further than this when it an-
nounced, in early 1956, it would urge the Legislature
to consider recreation as a "beneficial use" in the fol-
lowing recommendation:

"Additional legislation that will be necessary
for full implementation of the California Water
Plan should be enacted as required. This includes
provisions authorizing the planned operation of
ground water basins as reservoirs, when neces-
sary in the public interest. It also includes provi-
sions authorizing the maintenance of live stream
flow in the interest of fish, wildlife and recrea-
tion as a beneficial use of water."

The first preliminary investigations into the effects
of the California Water Plan on the State's wildlife
were undertaken during the biennium by competent
fisheries biologists working side by side with the engi-
neers of the Department of Water Resources. Their
report will form Appendix "E" of the plan, soon to be
published, but it is by no means the final, definitive
study of the subject. At best it can be considered only
a quick look at the steps necessary to enhance recrea-
tional opportunities under the plan. Aluch more study
is needed. Each phase of the plan must be thoroughl\'
studied in detail as it develops from the drawing board
to the construction stage, and recommendations for
wildlife and recreation must be made integral parts
of the project.

OROVILLE DAM

Oroville Dam, which will harness a large portion
of the Feather River, will be the first unit to be con-
structed under the California Water Plan. Conse-
quently, the dejjartment has given a high priority to



Biologist Edward Dwyer, left, and V/ater Resources Engineer William L.
Horn confer on wildlife protection phases of f/ie California Water Plan.

(Fish and Game Photo)




development of plans for fishing, hunting and recrea-
tion in the upper Feather River area. The department
had recommended five reservoirs whose primary use
would be for recreational purposes. The 1956 Legisla-
ture voted a total of $658,000 for preliminary planning
of and site acquisition for the dams and the engineering
investigation phase of preliminary planning was under
way at the close of the biennium. The next step will
be final plans and construction.

Studies of flow releases from Oroville Reservoir, nec-
essary to maintain salmon spawning runs in the Feather
River, have been made, as well as a preliminary survey
of the wildlife and recreational needs of the Oroville
Reservoir area. Preliminary investigations on the need
for a salmon hatchery downstream from Oroville Dam
were under way at the close of the biennium. Fish and
Game biologists, working with engineers of the De-
partment of Water Resources, were also investigating
the need for fish ladders and other structures where
feasible.

On advice of the Department of Fish and Game, the
California Water Plan includes provisions for dams on
some north coastal streams which will be designed pri-
marily for fish life and recreation purposes. The De-
partment of Water Resources hopes that these streams,
with adequate flows, can replace some spawning areas
inundated by bigger dams.

Most of these streams have high recreational use,
but only for limited periods of each year. Sand bars,
resulting from low flows in late summer and fall, now
block the mouths of these streams and cut off access
to salmon and steelhead trout. Spawning runs are thus
delayed and consequentl>- the fishing period is limited.
Small fish on their dow nstream runs are often trapped
and die when low flows occur again the following
summer.

By controlling releases from dams on the upper
reaches of these streams, summer flow and the fish
producing capacity can be greatly increased. Control
of releases will also mean an improvement in fishing,
camping and picnicking opportunities.

MIGRATORY FISH LOSS

The State stands to lose a substantial segment of
its migratory fish life when the plan is carried to its
ultimate development. Hatcheries, ladders, diversion
screens and other devices will help to restore partially
some of these fisheries, and assurance of constant flows
below dams will improve some trout streams. The loss
will be further offset by creation of many warmwater
fishing lakes, some in areas that do not now have any
semblance of water recreation.

Constant vigilance by the department and others
interested in outdoor recreation is necessary as each
phase of water plans develop. Provision for wildlife
and recreation must be included in construction plans
of projects if California is to be assured a substantial




lU



\



Wood products plani on Sacramento River near Antiocb pumps waste
materials directly into sfreom, creating condition highly toxic to fish.

(Fish and Game Photo by John Skinner)



future in outdoor recreation. Existing reservoirs which
have been built without consideration for recreation
present a valuable lesson to the people of California.
It is extremely expensive to provide for this purpose
after a dam is built.

THE GRASSLANDS BILL

Probably the most important single accomplishment
for conservation of California wildlife during 1954
was passage of legislation by Congress of the so-called
Grasslands Bill.

The Grasslands of the San Joaquin \'alley were a
major waterfow 1 wintering area on the Pacific Flyway
before they were dried up by the U. S. Bureau of
Reclamation as part of the Central \"alley Project
water development plan. The Grasslands Bill was
based on results of a joint survey by the bureau, the
Department of Fish and Game, and the U. S. Fish and
Wildlife Service.

The new law authorized the Secretary of the In-
terior to contract for delivery of water, if and when
available, to public organizations and agencies for
waterfowl purposes in the Grasslands at a cost not to
exceed the charge for Class 2 water. The law also pro-
vided for investigation, planning and construction of
works by the U. S. Government to provide \\ ater for
the public waterfowl management and refuge areas in
the Grasslands Region, the cost to be borne by the
government on a nonreimbursable basis. The expendi-
ture of 1400,000 was authorized for the purpose and
when completed the works were to become the prop-
erty of the State of California. A substantial start had
been made on the rehabilitation of the wildlife needs
of the area during the biennium.



OTHER PROBLEMS

While the department was busy with its primary
water problems, there were many other matters that
also commanded its attention. Chief among these were
finances, deer management, and still another water
problem, pollution.

Possibly the most serious, insofar as the immediate
future is concerned, was the fiscal problem.

For five years, increasing revenues have failed to
keep pace with inflation, costs of wildlife conservation
programs and services to the public.

The $6,000,000 Fish and Game operating reserve of
1951 will be about $2,760,000 by June 30, 1957. It will
be about 11,700,000 a \ear later at the present austere
rate of spending.

In 1947 the State Legislature, supported by sports-
men, gave California a new opportunity to catch up
with losses to wildlife management sustained during
World War II by providing additional dollars for fish
and game.

W. C. B. Help Invaluable

The Wildlife Conservation Board, which has since
spent about 113,000,000 in capital outlay for fish and
game production and maintenance facilities, provided
an important shot in the arm for California wildlife.

A Sl.OO increase in license fees, authorized by the
1947 Legislature, actually was more than absorbed by
the increased cost of doing business.

Neither of these aids to wildlife anticipated the
tremendous inflation spiral which devalued the new
S3. 00 license fee to fl.92, nor the continuing over-
v\'helming boom in population creating terrific new-
pressures on wildlife.

While the number of licenses sold annualh' in-
creased the number of dollars received by the Fish
and Game Preservation Fund, the cost of materials,
equipment, salaries and transportation went up at a
much faster rate.

L^nlike tax revenues based on market values or per-
centages of income, fixed fees such as hunting and
fishing licenses do not provide increased numbers of
revenue dollars to Fish and Game in terms of buying
power.

At the close of the current biennium it w"as appar-
ent that the operating reserve fund, which has cush-
ioned the shock of inflation, would soon be gone, and
that either it would be necessary to find new sources
of revenue or to cut back drastically on the present
program.

THE DEER PROBLEM

The continuing failure of California's growing
hunter army to harvest a number of deer sufficient to
keep animals and range in balance has created a serious
problem in practical management of the State's valu-
able herds.





\ I



r




'?iS'-,






t







Under good range conditions the normal, healthy doe will usually have
two fawns per year.

(Fish and Game Photo)



Prior to the turn of the century deer were scarce.
Unrestricted hunting had reduced the herds to a low
level. In the 1880"s, however, conditions had begun to
change. Logging operations opened up timber stands
and allowed an increase in browse species. Fires dur-
ing this early logging period created interspersed
openings in forests, permitting brush fields to grow.
On the other hand the depletion of grass cover by
overgrazing of cattle and other causes and the con-
sequent reduction in fire occurrence permitted an in-
crease in browse vegetation in juniper, sagebrush,
desert shrub and woodland grass areas.

Man Aided

Man also aided the deer by reducing the number
of livestock on national forest, federal and privately
owned lands, leaving more reserve forage. In some
instances homesteaders helped when they broke up
vegetation types by clearing brush and trees and then
abandoned their sites.

These factors set the stage for return of the deer in
large numbers by creating a favorable habitat. Resto-
ration of the herds was further aided when the State
instituted a "bucks only" shooting law and developed
an efficient force of game wardens and predator trap-
pers.

Today the deer have increased to such abundance
that the pendulum has swung the other way; their



natural range is not sufficient to support them in a
healthy condition.

Deaths from starvation, malnutrition and related
diseases have been the lot of far too many deer on
overstocked ranges.

Food Quality Declines

Heavy populations over-browse the better forage
species. This results in a steady decline in the quality
of their food to the point where weaker animals suc-
cumb and wasteful losses occur.

Usually fawns and older deer are the first to suc-
cumb. Fawns particularly are vulnerable because dur-
ing the first year of life their energy is spent in
growth and they build up little reserve of fat. Fawns,
being smaller, cannot reach the browse on high-limbed
shrubs and trees, whereas larger animals can.

The lack of natural forage often causes other
troubles. Forced to look elsewhere for their food,
deer sometimes seek it in nearby orchards, alfalfa and
ha\' lands and other places, thereby causing damage
to the property and crops of farmers who live on the
fringes of deer ranges.

Bigger Harvest Desirable

Estimated to be well in exxess of 1,000,000 deer,
the California herds produce an annual crop of at least
200,000 animals for harvest each fall. Hunters took
75,602 bucks in 1954, the record year since deer tags
were instituted in 1927. In 1955, the bag was 71,126.
Despite these two high years, the average kill over
the last 24 years has been a meager 38,775 annually.
Thus the harvest has been much less than it could
have been, and Nature took the balance in her own
cruel wa\'.

Department biologists, big game experts from the
Universit\' of California, from the U. S. Fish and
Wildlife Service and from agencies of other states all
agree that under proper management hunters not only
can shoot 200,000 animals per year safely in California,
but that the annual harvest must be very close to this
amount if the herds are to flourish.

Deer Policy

The answer to the deer problem is contained in a
policy established in June, 1950, by the California
Fish and Game Commission after state-wide discus-
sion and approval by sportsmen, ranchers, conserva-

"Training the trainers." First group of lop level supervisors and staff
officers attends a training program class.

(Fish and Game Photo)




tion agencies and other interested parties. Simply
stated, the policy is to maintain the herds at their
range-carrying capacity by harvesting surplus deer of
either sex.

The first antlerless hunt, which was to set the pat-
tern for subsequent hunts, had been held in the winter
of 1949-50. Others followed as the recognition of deer
problems became more general. Since the first hunt
there have been 37 special hunts, 20 of which occurred
in the last two years. These hunts led to the establish-
ment by the commission in May, 1956, of the first
general antlerless seasons in 34 counties, scheduled in
the fall of 1956.

Guide for Future

When regulations for the first either sex hunting
season were under consideration, the Fish and Game


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Online LibraryCalifornia. Dept. of Fish and GameCalifornia fish and game (Volume 1954-1956) → online text (page 1 of 16)